A Glimpse of Ultimate Reality
Firstly, this piece has been rewritten in 2019, about 12 years after the initial ‘Glimpse’ or spiritual awakening. It is inevitable that one’s own interpretation of one’s experiences itself changes as one’s awakening progresses, and ego-loss increases.
I’ve been searching for whatever is behind life, universe and everything since teenage years – a long time now! The search for Truth has led me on a journey through several religions, practices and paths. I can’t think of a deeper quest I have had – I just always wanted to know the Truth.
Prior to spiritually awakening, at various points in my life I practiced these in chronological order: born into Hinduism, Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism during 20s, Christianity during 30s, Akram Vignan during 40s. Now, in my 50s – it does not feel like it will be possible to attach to any man-made, external doctrine or faith again, as the quest has turned within. Needless to say, it’s been quite a journey!
I also meandered in and out of various other paths and personal development methods including Landmark Education courses up to ILP, Silva Mind Control meditation, Oneness Diksha, new age approaches and a whole lot of reading.
The really conscious journey however, the journey that is worth writing about, began just about 12 years ago when the first dark night of the soul occurred, emotional healing occurred and I was Graced with a Glimpse.
I was off work and changing career direction, with much time alone. It was this opportunity alone that provided the environment in which spiritual awakening could occur as it provided the space to slow down. Had I not had that time away from work I doubt it would have happened, as when we are caught up in everyday preoccupations and incessant thoughts, there is little space for truth to be heard.
First Dark Night of the Soul
The trigger to the first dark night of the soul was a loss I experienced at this time which resulted in much grief and sadness. This wasn’t anything new as it wasn’t the first time I had experienced such a loss but what was strange was that I knew after some weeks of this that I was no longer suffering because of the loss, but that the suffering had deepened and was of an ilk I had not experienced before.
Darkness was the underlying factor, which included an inner isolation, great outpourings of emotions and thoughts including sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, also grief. The emotions and tears became constant companions all day long. This went on for some weeks. I felt trapped in something I had no idea about, and could hardly bear. I could only just about do the basics in terms of daily life. I believed without doubt that what I was going through had become my permanent state, this brought terror into play!
Nothingness / Void
And there was something else., something new and very real. It was a physical feeling in my belly of a nothingness, a palpable void inside me. It was suddenly there one day and did not abate for several weeks. I had absolutely no idea what it was and this added to the secret terror.
I knew that if I went to the doctor I’d be signed off on medication (‘Hello Doctor, my symptoms are a big nothingness in my stomach, can you help me?’ Imagine the look on the doctor’s face 🙂 I knew that I didn’t need medication or any mainstream non-holistic ‘all-conclusive’ diagnosis. This wasn’t mainstream at all!!
So due to the strangeness of what was happening to me, I kept it all to myself and went from day to day, being constantly brought into the present moment of difficult emotions, since there was a damn of emotions bursting. They say it is suffering that leads most people to awaken. (Though some people do awaken spontaneously, even though they knew nothing about Self before, such as Sri Ramana Maharshi, Papaji.) And indeed for myself that was so. Childhood trauma and pain has to be released at some point, it cannot be made to disappear because just because we don’t like it. Energy is created through childhood pain, getting stored in the body and also as emotional patterns. The Pain Body, as Eckhart Tolle calls it 🙂 To get back to the point…
Simultaneously to the emptiness, I suddenly experienced a distance between my new point of reference (undefined as this was) and the person I had known myself to be prior to this point. Worldly roles and the self-image that I had built up for myself and which was never questioned as not being me, now became something I was instinctively questioning. Who am I if I am not the person and personality I thought I was? I didn’t know anymore.
And each of the endless self-definitions and labels I attached to myself were suddenly shown to be meaningless. Also, all values, culture and beliefs I had so eagerly defended in the past had suddenly disappeared as if in a puff of smoke, having lost their worth and reality. It was like being knocked off your pedestal, and there was also an intense time of raw honesty of looking at behaviours of the past that I was not proud of – the day of reckoning, where there was nowhere to hide. I think ‘relative Reena’, if I can put it this way, needed a really good kick up the you-know-what to get to see how clever my ego is!
One day I opened up about what was happening when my ex husband called. I shared with him some of what was happening, and about the darkness. He told me I needed to seek support asap. So with his encouragement I started to look online and put search terms like ‘nothingness’ and ‘void’ into Google. It was only then that I learnt the term ‘spiritual awakening’, strange as it seems given all my previous spiritual searching. I found others were having similar experiences – that was really good news. Perhaps I wasn’t mad, after all yay! Some even mentioned the word ‘nothingness’ and ‘void.’ It was as I read these things that I found words for my own experiences.
I sought support from those I was drawn to, which included a healer and astrologer who was an amazing support at the time, and I shall ever be grateful to him. Also a kindred spirit who introduced me to Jiddu Krishnamurti and from there I began my study of great awakened masters’ teachings.
The emotional outpourings had a schedule of their own, I was brought to my knees from experiencing intense emotions, something I am so very grateful for. It was the time that I had to heal, as the energy of witheld pain could no longer be contained and life be continued with.
My childhood had been, as I began to see beyond all the denials I liked to engage in, one of trauma and dysfunction on an emotional and mental level. I had been believing I was ok on that front, but the outpouring of emotion was a real knock to my ego, and as such had a humbling effect. I come from a culture (Indian) that is very proud of its traditions, a family where so much pain and suffering was continuously experienced yet never acknowledged, and had developed (unconsciously) into a person who would show the outside how strong and adept she was, and how I could cope with anything. But I could not – cope with anything, and now I was on the floor. Now the process of seeing my vasanas, karmic patterns or ingrained patterns that affect behaviour, was beginning. What! I was flawed? Yes! I was indeed flawed. I saw that some of these vasanas included patterns of anger, anxiety, sadness, judgement and grief.
Other vasanas – cynicism and self-righteousness – now bowed and surrendered to the reality of emotions surfacing. And with the healing sessions I was attending and receiving, and all the work I was doing guided by others and by teachings available online, I slowly started my healing journey where eventually the tears did dry up. If you are at a similar point please know that tears are finite and in to the extent that we put a brake on wounds and limiting beliefs we hold within, so let it all out freely, without restraint, it is for your growth.
So as the weeks went by, deeply held emotions cleared and healing occurred. I learnt that healing occurs by the very intent of shining the light on emotional scars. By allowing emotions to surface and feeling feelings, things became lighter within, and I began to feel the joy of such lightness for the first time in my life.
There was one pivotal experience – the first Glimpse – which had a profound impact on ‘me’. One night, I was feeling elated with all that had occurred on this spiritual plane, yet there was still suffering – human loneliness that had not subsided despite the journey that I had so far had. It was a loneliness that I had carried since a small child, I remember it being my virtually constant companion.
At the same time, there was a new and insatiable longing to know Truth, it was a deep, primordial type yearning. I sat on my bed and whole-heartedly prayed for Truth to be shown to me in my dream that night. It was an exhortation, a pleading almost, but a clear request. I needed to know what Truth was, not just to to intellectually understand Truth. I knew that had I achieved every single thing people generally spend their energy on attaining – wealth, success, beauty, fame, relationships, friendships, power, whatever else humans desire – I still would not be satisfied and would yearn to know what is behind all of life.
That same night my prayer was answered. I awoke in the middle of a dream that continued as I awoke. In this dream I was floating in a dark vastness, though it wasn’t scary, and there was a sense of a Presence, I was not alone, which was as if actively showing me the vastness (but was also impartial, I was not specially chosen). As I awoke, my 3rd eye was pulsating physically to rhythmical beats (2, then 3, then 2, then 3 etc) that had been going on in the dream I had been having. I knew that the purpose of the rhythmical beats in my dream was to show that there is an order in the Universe, and that the Universe is intelligent. In the moments after waking up, these were the messages I was given, it did not come from me (!) I lay un-moving as I awoke from this, as if transfixed, just experiencing everything.
The morning after, everything just seemed brighter, fresher, new. I saw my kids when they awoke as if they had been away for weeks, they looked so fresh as only kids can. I noticed the birds in the garden properly for the first time. I felt awe and bliss. I felt gratitude. I felt love. I felt connected to all. The bliss remained for some days. It was some weeks later that I realized I felt emotionally so much lighter, and the old loneliness was no more, and I was growing to love aloneness.
Since then the journey has only become profounder. Bliss moments occur, and other Glimpses have occurred too. But there are many, many vasanas and ego layers that are to be cleared! And as ego layers fall away one is then ready for yet deeper and more challenging work. It seems the journey enfolds with deeper and deeper ego layers being ‘tackled’. But the ultimate ‘goal’ for me is Sahaja Samadhi…..though I am far from that.
I like this not so common helpful quote of Sri Ramana Maharshi:
All bad qualities centre round the ego. When the ego is gone, Realisation results by itself. There are neither good nor bad qualities in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to the mind only.
As a result of these experiences I certified as a Soul Plan Reader and Spiritual Counsellor, and my mission is to assist others who are going through similar journeys and who may need a friendly hand of support. I encourage all clients to start with a Soul Plan Reading. If you are wondering how soul plan readings fit into the quest for Self-realization, I see it like this: many people are unable / unwilling to embrace who they are at a relative (personality) level and are under many illusions about themselves. Until we can become more honest about our vasanas, as well as embrace the gifts and talents we have to offer the world, this will remain as a hindrance in the way of Grace flowing into our lives. A Soul Plan Reading unveils these things so that you can embrace and understand yourself better, which clears the energy flow and blockages. More on Soul Plan Readings here.
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